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WGU Graduate Speaker, Michelle Shaffer

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Michelle Shaffer
Western Governors University
<p>Saturday, November 3, 2018 WGU Commencement in Indianapolis, Indiana. Michelle Shaffer earned her Master of Science - Nursing, Education degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Dr. Allison Barber: Now we're going to hear from two of our student speakers, Michelle Shaffer and then Dion Brown. Please come share your journey with us.</p> <p>Michelle Shaffer: Good morning. My name's Michelle Shaffer. It's amazing how moments in our lives define us. You think you know where you were going, then you have an experience and your whole outlook changes. These moments are composed of people who make all the difference in our lives, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to share mine with you. </p> <p>Like many of you, I have had many ups and downs to get where I am today. In May of 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the age of 35, I faced my own mortality. This made me think about all of the things I had not yet done in my life. I had always wanted to take my father to see the sequoias in California, something he had talked about as long as I could remember. </p> <p>So, I packed up my father, then 81 years old, and my children, and we drove 8,000 miles across the country. When we got back home I got back to reality. I thought about all of the things I had kept putting off. I thought about what I wanted people to say about me when I was gone. I didn't want to be known as the high school dropout who only attained a GED. With seven children in our blended family, one of the things that stood out was that I had never had the opportunity to go back to college and get my education. But after my diagnosis, I finally made the decision to pursue a degree. </p> <p>I enrolled in classes and started just one week later. At the time, I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to wear scrubs to work. But oddly, I had no interest in being a nurse. To my surprise, while being treated for breast cancer during my first semester of school, the nurses inspired me with their amazing care. Filled with new hope, I left the hospital, and changed my major to nursing. In this moment, these nurses changed the course of my life. </p> <p>While in my prerequisites for nursing, a fellow student asked if I could help her study. By the end of the course, word had spread that I had a way of explaining things and my study group had grown to several students. This is when I realized my true calling: Education. </p> <p>In my first semester of nursing school, I was recommended to become a nursing peer tutor. It was this moment where I made the decision to combine my love for teaching and nursing and become a nursing educator. </p> <p>I was first introduced to WGU when I saw their table and their adorable owl on the Ivy Tech campus. As I learned more about WGU, I knew I wanted to attend because of their flexibility, affordability, and above all, they came highly recommended. In addition, WGU allowed me to get my BSN along the way to getting my MSN. </p> <p>At first, it was an adjustment to work independently on my studies and not have to leave my house to attend classes. But as time went on, I found my own routine. During my time at WGU I was still able to live my life. I saw two of my children graduate from boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, and become United States Marines. [Applause] </p> <p>I finished three of my courses while in North Carolina awaiting the arrival of granddaughter number six. My schoolwork with WGU was flexible enough that I never had to put my life on hold to finish my degree. </p> <p>To my husband, you are my rock, and I would not be in this moment without you. Thank you to my amazing children for never complaining about all of the cereal you ate for dinner. [Chuckles] And my seven granddaughters, I hope that you follow in my footsteps and follow your dreams. To my dad, and Mer, thank you for always believing in me. And to my program mentor, Shirley Wells, I know you're watching you are awesome. Thank you so much for believing in me, and believing that I would finish, even when I regularly procrastinated. </p> <p>Thank you to my best friend, Misty for never giving up hope that I would become a nurse too. To my study groups and my student peers, thank you for believing in me, even when I didn't. And to all of my instructors and my co workers, some of which who were my instructors, and are now my co workers, thank you for supporting me through this journey, and could not have done it without your support. </p> <p>Today, I stand before you cancer free. [Applause] Thank you. I'm graduating with a Master of Science in Nursing Education. I have been teaching since January. Because of a few nurses that changed my life, I have achieved the goal that I set for myself eight years ago. I no longer consider what I do to be work because I'm doing what I love. I am touching the lives of aspiring students, teaching them to become great nurses. My students will go on to touch the lives of their many patients, creating a ripple effect. </p> <p>To those of you graduating today, I want you to take a moment, I want you to look around, soak all of this in. This is your moment. WGU has made this moment possible. This is the day that you graduate, and this is the moment that you are been working for. The only question is: How will this moment define you? Thank you. [Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
© 2018 Western Governors University – WGU. All Rights Reserved.
Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)